Construction Specifications Canada awards first-ever scholarship of excellence

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Aliya Hirji recently received the inaugural Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) scholarship of excellence.

A third-year construction management student from Toronto’s George Brown College has been presented the inaugural Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) scholarship of excellence.

Aliya Hirji received the honour, which includes a $2,500 prize. Hirji, who also completed an honours degree in architectural technology last year, says her diverse background and exposure to multiple design methods are among her greatest assets for working in the industry.

“I strongly believe I have thrived as a young architect,” she tells Construction Canada. “As a student bridging the world of architecture and construction, my vision is to bring change to the industry as a young, innovative, and highly skilled woman with a great eye for design.

“Receiving this scholarship not only acts as a strong motivation but validates my efforts and spur on to greater success,” she adds.

Likewise, CSC sees the scholarship as an opportunity to support institutions of education, as well as encourage students to learn more about the association and the career opportunities available to them.

“One of our mandates is to educate, and what better way to do that than encourage students by awarding a scholarship?” said Kimberly Tompkins, CSC president.

“There is a shortage of specification writers across the country, with more and more of our RSW and CSP members retiring each year,” she said. “We hope both in-class teaching, and the scholarship opportunity, raises awareness of the careers available to technical writers, and not just architectural technologists.”

Aliya grew up in Tanzania and arrived in Canada alone and facing a new school and a whole new system. She says the cultural shock was by far the greatest challenge she faced.

“Previously, the only construction materials I was exposed to were concrete and steel, which are used most often in Tanzania,” she said. “I found myself overwhelmed with the different methods of deployment in Canada and often lagged in understanding the science behind them. However, this sparked a drive in me to rise to the challenge.”

Her career goal is to “be at forefront of the industry” and create a lasting legacy.

“The field of construction is very male dominated; therefore, I aspire to be a role model to all the women out there who think they have no chance to succeed in the industry,” she said.


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